In the 17th century, the innovative novelist, astute swordsman and literary libertine, Cyrano de Bergerac adventured to the moon by way of his famous book The Other World: Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon, published in 1657, almost two years after his death.
A bold and innovative author as well as a free thinker—in a time when the power of the church was ubiquitous—he was one of the first to write about lunar travel. Bergerac dreamed up several ways to reach the moon, from rocket-powered space flight to bottles full of morning dew tied to his person; the heat from the sun’s rays attracted the dew to carry him up high (in case you were wondering).
Bergerac hailed from Gascony, a rural area of South West France that spans unadulterated countryside peppered with fields of sunflowers, pine forests and the snow-capped Pyrenees that stretch along the horizon. They say that on a clear night, thanks to star-lit skies, there is a luminous quality to the light. In contrast, the typical anchored-to-the-earth Gascon of popular literature is proud and hotheaded — most famously portrayed by Alexander Dumas’ d’Artagnan, along with our hero Bergerac.
However Gascony is more than sunflowers and stargazing; it’s most famous for producing the oldest French brandy, Armagnac which dates back 700 years. At Greenwood Distillers, we are working with the most established elders of Armagnac — undoubtedly descendants of those stubborn, unruly Gascons of old. For the making of Armagnac, grapes must be harvested at certain times of year, with different expressions being symptomatic of varying lunar activity — thus, the moon heavily impacts the grape we choose. In fact, throughout history, the moon has always affected the harvest and the change of seasons.
Our proximity on earth to the moon has been a point of endless fascination; we name it for each season, write about it and stare at it for hours on end. The moon all at once expresses infinite truth and constant change. No wonder that most romantic of celestial bodies is an object of fascination; at only a quarter the size of our planet, its gravitational pull causes the tides to rise and fall, it bathes us in soft light at night and is the Earth’s only satellite.
Herein lies our bridge from Gascony to outer space: Inspiration for the Armagnac comes from Bergerac’s cosmonaut, who travelled to the moon and looked to Earth. Chateau La Lune’s first edition was made 50 years ago, around the time of the Moon Landing. Next year the stars will align as we toast to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s lunar landing—the moon’s jubilee—with a glass of Chateau La Lune. Santé.
We've found that where there’s creative tension, there's endless enrichment. The wise turtle and the agile butterfly of our emblem represent this tension between old and new; wisdom and dynamism, the weight of experience and the fervour of youth.
At our home in Ardross, we have a similar dichotomy; classically trained distillers and blenders come together with a restless team of untrained dreamers and impetuous doers. Together, we’re building a bridge from Scotland to rest of the world.